Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was omitted from the 30-man shortlist for the prestigious award on Friday for the first time since 2005.
The Argentine great beat out Polish striker Robert Lewandowski for the Ballon d’Or last year, but this time around he was named after a torrid first season at Paris Saint-Germain.
The 35-year-old forward also won the award in 2019 – it was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Neymar also missed the cut this time.
Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Erling Haaland and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo were all included, as were Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Alexia Potilas, Ada Hegerberg, Sam Kerr and Vivian Midem are on the list of 20 female nominees. United States players Alex Morgan, Catarina Macario and Trent Rodman were also nominated.
The men’s list includes six Manchester City players: Phil Foden, Joao Cancelo, De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, and new signing Haaland (formerly of Borussia Dortmund).
Liverpool also have six candidates: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz, Fabinho, Darwin Nunes, Salah and Virgil van Dijk.
Mane, who helped Senegal win their first African Cup of Nations before leaving Liverpool for Bayern Munich, is joined by Bayern team-mate Joshua Kimmich.
Benzema leads Real Madrid’s six-man squad. The others are Casemiro, Thibaut Courtois, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and new signing Antonio Rudiger.
The other nominated players are Sebastian Haller (Ajax), Rafael Luo and Mike Magnan (both AC Milan), Christopher Nkunko (Leipzig), and Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus).
The award will be given on October 17.
in between The changes were announced in MarchThe award is now awarded based on performance over a regular European season rather than a year. A reduction in the number of voters was among other changes aimed at simplifying the process. Voters will no longer consider a player’s career achievements.
French football magazine has given the award to men every year since 1956 and to women every year since 2018 – when Hegerberg became the first female winner – although both were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Potilas was the third winner of the women’s award last year. Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Etana Bonamati was also nominated.
Millie Bright, Lucy Bruns and Beth Mead – who helped England win the European Championship – were included.
France has four players on the list: Salma Bacha, Cadet Diani, Marie-Antoinette Catuto and Wendy Renard.
The other women nominated are Christine Endler, Lena Oberdorf, Asisat Oshwala, Alexandra Popp and Fridolina Rolfo.